From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:
An important message from Sheriff Jeffrey R. Gahler:
With the Presidential Inauguration now seven days away, we are learning of a warning from the FBI that “armed protests” are being planned for all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
As your Sheriff, I have never shied away from the tough topics. I have never hidden my support of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. And while I would hope most would know where I stand on the topic of free speech and the right to peaceably assemble, I thought I would take this opportunity to state my position.
I have been very clear that peaceful protests and assemblies are protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, when individuals resort to criminal actions, they must be held accountable. Sadly, this is not a belief that has been embraced in so many places over the past 12 months or a belief espoused by many of our elected leaders until now.
The criminal acts witnessed at the Capitol Building were egregious and those involved should be held responsible. Similarly, the criminal acts perpetrated across our Nation over the past year were also egregious. Those offenders, all of those offenders, should be prosecuted for the crimes they committed, the police officers they assaulted, the property they damaged, and the lives they destroyed.
As we move into the days leading up to the Inauguration, please remember, as citizens of the United States of America, we do not use violence to settle our differences.
If you choose to exercise your Constitutional right to participate in any planned protest, I implore you to do so peacefully. I will always defend your rights as law abiding citizens, but once you choose to violate the law and resort to violence and chaos, law and order must and will prevail.